When I wrote the script for my first experiment, a podcast titled Listen To Your Mother, I already had the tone of the podcast in mind. The podcast would address two thoughts from mothers I thought existed: “why did no one tell me this about motherhood,” and “I thought that this was just me.” But these were issues that I was assuming mothers faced, and because of this assumption, every episode was tailored around reaching these same realizations.
This limited my listener base based on the political and societal ideas I had formed about them. What if a mother was listening thinking “no, motherhood is exactly what I expected, there are no issues or surprises, and I enjoy it every day” ? It’s hard to create an authentic conversation, or plan for one using a podcast script of questions, when you’ve already decided what authentic revelations are going to happen.
While I want the revelations to be uncomfortable and thought provoking, I also don’t want to police the content. Now, I imagine an episode where two mothers are talking about, for example, childbirth. What if the pain of childbirth is exactly as they predicted? Rather than push for some kind of “I wish I had known this” moment, it would be more authentic to encourage a discussion of, perhaps, what mothers feel like they innately know about the experience. Perhaps my topical issue with authenticity and motherhood is not the mother’s uncomfortability with the topics, but my uncomfortability with hearing things outside of the narrative I’ve already constructed.